The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) assists and supports disabled veterans who return home from duty by providing unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. What began as a program to help veterans who returned home after serving in Afghanistan and Iraq has grown into a complete rehabilitative effort to help veterans recover and transition back to civilian life. One such service member is U.S. Army veteran Jim Schrock. Schrock served during the 2003 invasion of Iraq and gives much credit to the Wounded Warrior Project for helping him when he returned home from duty.
“The Wounded Warrior Project is one of the greatest things to ever happen for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans,” said Schrock. “They do so much … like activities to get soldiers’ minds off of whatever struggles they may be going through….It’s a national organization that’s supported almost worldwide. It’s a great organization to be involved in because there are so many support systems in place with so many key people all over the United States. They’re only a phone call away if something’s wrong or you need something. They always check on you.”
According to Schrock, the WWP assists veterans’ families with many things, including disability claims and Veterans Benefits Administration (VA) treatment. The organization also provides peer support, career training, adaptive sports programs, and legislative advocacy for veterans injured in Afghanistan and Iraq. The program promptly and efficiently provided Schrock with assistance and is helping him get a service dog.
Schrock recounted how he was injured in Iraq in 2004. He was part of the ground force infantry that provided security for the helicopters while they were being loaded with injured soldiers. “I was in an abandoned warehouse refitting for another convoy and a mortar dropped through the roof (the roof had already been blown off), and it exploded above our heads, and myself and three other guys were blown through a brick wall,” he said. “The guy in front of me took the majority of the shrapnel. If not for him, I probably would have been dead. I was out for about 42 minutes, and I was flown to Balad Airbase and sent back to Germany.”
Schrock returned from duty in July 2004 and received a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, and an Iraq Campaign medal, but he also knows firsthand how returning soldiers are sometimes overlooked, and stresses the importance of organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project.
“Regardless of what you see on TV, remember there are sons, daughters, husbands and wives standing on the front line every day,” said Schrock. “You may not be directly affected by what’s going on but somewhere, somehow, some place there’s a person sitting in a trench or on guard duty wondering if anyone back home cares or if they’ll make it home. So it’s important to always keep them in the back of your mind because at any given time they might not be coming home.”